There is much discussion among those with an interest in plastic bottle recycling and deposit return schemes over the government’s consultation on such a scheme.
There are supporters for a DRS scheme as well as those against. Some concerns have been raised in a Parliamentary consultation. Now a senior representative of local authorities, the LARAC recycling officers association Chief Executive Lee Marshall has voiced his concerns.
Speaking at a House of Commons Committee Inquiry into bottle and coffee cup recycling, Mr Marshall said there was insufficient evidence to show that a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles would not have a negative effect on local authorities.
Speaking during an Environmental Audit Committee panel discussion, he said: “I think at the moment we are not aware that the evidence is there to say there won’t be a negative impact, so our feelings and our estimates are that there is likely to be one.”
When asked by committee chair Mary Creagh MP how much of a concern there was in the DRS diverting money away from local authorities, Mr Marshall said: “Very, in a simple word. At the moment there’s not a lot of evidence to show what the true impacts of a DRS scheme would be in the UK.”
“In most European countries the DRS scheme came first and the kerbside came second,” he added.
The chief executive of LARAC, which represents recycling officers, said while there are likely to be savings on the litter side for councils, there is also likely to be increased costs on the kerbside side from loss of income on the materials. And, Mr Marshall explained the effects would vary from local authority to local authority depending on disposal costs.
However, in terms of coffee cups, Mr Marshall explained, because the infrastructure is ‘immature’, it could be that this area could be explored more readily and would have less of an effect on the kerbside scheme.